chapter  3
39 Pages

Key Figures

The antiwar movement was, first and foremost, a “people’s movement”—an amorphous and decentralized coalition made up of numerous national organizations, local groups, and individuals, that relied on the commitment, resourcefulness, and creativity of countless ordinary people to sustain and energize it over many years. The movement’s diversity is represented in the selection of people analyzed below. Ranging from A. J. Muste, the veteran pacifist whose peace activism took him to North Vietnam for a meeting, at the age of 82, with Ho Chi Minh, to Abbie Hoffman, whose countercultural flair brought color and humor to the movement; and from onetime boxer Rodolfo Gonzáles, who worked to mobilize antiwar sentiment among Mexican Americans, to feminist champion and Democratic politician Bella Abzug, who made trenchant criticisms of the war from the floor of the U.S. Congress, this chapter explores many of the antiwar movement’s most forceful and prominent personalities. Those analyzed here, some of whom came to symbolize opposition to the war in the public imagination, helped mold the antiwar movement-offering it direction and leadership, forging alliances, and smoothing over divisions. They also illustrate its important and fruitful links with other political traditions and constituencies-including pacifism, the Old and New Lefts, black and Chicano Americans, the counterculture, popular culture, feminism, and the political establishment. A. J. Muste (1885-1967): one of America’s most famous pacifists and a promi-

nent figure in the movement to end the war in Vietnam. A leader who commanded widespread respect and authority, Muste’s death, aged 82, in February 1967 robbed the antiwar movement of a figure of real substance.1